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Karen Bashkirew

For me, away is an antidote for the poisons of violence and war, medicine against the madness of too-much.  Being away, alone, in wild places, in the stillness of an empty church, in the sanctuary of my own quiet room with a book or pen and paper is balm for a spirit rubbed raw by noise, crowds, traffic, the frantic pace of modern life.

But, I wonder, is there really an away?  Because sometimes, even when I climb to a remote mountain ridge, I can still hear the echo of far-off explosions and people screaming.  And I know, too, that every away is also toward….

The poems in this collection had their beginnings in quiet places.  Many take their inspiration from nature, from places of stillness, sanctuary, and solitude.  All have carried me away and toward at the same time
Karen Bashkirew

Karen Bashkirew lives with her husband in Emmaus, PA.  Her work has appeared in various journals including Atlanta Review, Calyx: A Journal Of Art And Literature By Women, Passager, Phoebe, and Schuylkill Valley Journal Of The Arts.  She received Byline Magazine's 2005 Poetry Award.  Her poem, “Sounds,” set to music by Suzzy Roche, is featured on the CD, Zero Church. She is also author of two earlier chapbooks, Standing In The Sky and Naming The Colors (FootHills Publishing).  She is a retired educator, massage therapist, and the mother of a grown son.  

From the book:


We drive up Portal Creek Road,
peer into the canyon where rushing
water carves its name in granite.
You navigate ruts in the narrow dirt track,
deliver me to this highland meadow,
then hike off toward Windy Pass-
more than I can manage today
feeling heartsore and weary.  
Instead, I walk easy to a shaded glen,
sit on a rock by a shallow pool.
I do not see elk or moose
or bear, though they are here.
I do not even glimpse a mule deer
or the beaver that made the pond.
Grasses move in a light wind,
bowed heads shaking in unison.
Fir trees shiver and groan.
Mostly, there is sky.  And mountains.

Soon you will return,
red-cheeked and grinning,
bristling with wildness,
call out a greeting to me.
But now, in this quietude
so nearly free of human sound,
an echo of far-off explosions.
Screams bleed into the silence,
and weeping pours from the throat
of every thrush and sparrow.

How far, I wonder,
is the climb to Away?
Oh, let me be a mountain.
Let me be sky.

is a 36 page hand-sewn book with spine - $8.00



To order through mail click here.

Karen's First FootHills Book

Naming the Colors
Karen Bashkirew

Cover Art by Thomas Rohnacher

Naming The Colors  is a memoir collection, a sketch of a life in twenty poems, each one a touchstone calling forth a significant person, place, happening or moment that has marked the way and colored one life.

Karen Bashkirew lives with her husband and an old dog named Moonshine in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.  Her work has appeared in various journals, including Atlanta Review, Byline, Passager, Phoebe, Schuylkill Valley Journal Of The Arts, and Encore, the annual NFSPS anthology of contest winners.  Her poem, "Sounds," was set to music by Suzzy Roche and is featured on the CD, Zero Church.  Her first chapbook of poems, titled Standing In The Sky, was published in 2001. She is also a writing tutor, perennial student, and mother of a grown son.

From the book:

I know that nothing has ever been real without my beholding it.
...I want, then, simply to say the names of things.

--Rainer Maria Rilke


I walk into the shout
and ache of autumn,
into the leafy church where sun
lights the living stained glass,
and I begin to name the colors,
chanting them like litanies
learned long ago.

crimson, copper, claret, plum
Our Father Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name...

burgundy, fuchsia, ruby, maroon
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth...

cinnamon, scarlet, russet, rust
The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want...

amethyst, emerald, orange, gold
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
make His face to shine upon you
and be gracious unto you....

I drink down the shout and the ache,
let them do their work in me,
coloring my pale, deepening my hue.

For this one hour
I claim bold shades
of spice and gems,
of fruit and flame,
of wine and blood.

ISBN 0-941053-81-4

Naming the Colors
is a 28 page hand-sewn chapbook - $7.00



To order through mail click here.

To order through mail click here.